In The Beginning…

Perhaps some of you will humor me. WordPress has just notified me that it is the ninth anniversary of beginning this blog. A special shout-out to Cindy Knoke who gave me my first like, and to all who have stopped and commented on this journey. Here is a re-blog of that original post with only a quote that was just added. I am grateful to the new friends I’ve made along the way and my love for France simply digs deeper into the soil around me. Thirteen years after moving here, I can state that this is, indeed, where I belong.

“I don’t even remember the season. I just remember walking between them and feeling for the first time, that I belonged somewhere.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

In The Beginning…

While I was born and grew up in California and had some family in different states and across western Canada, I never felt a part of the country that claimed my allegiance. The desire or perhaps need to travel beyond these boundaries was intense. There was an insatiable hunger for foreign films, stories and I wanted it all. While I have been to a few countries and enjoyed them tremendously, nothing but Europe would ever be home.

When an automobile accident cut short my career, I had to decide what to do with the rest of my life. As I did not have the income to continue my mortgage payments, the house would have to be sold. However, I would have to find a house that I could afford without a mortgage with whatever I could obtain. Although the market was spiraling downward, I was fortunate to have bought the property when things were more affordable and made enough, that if careful, I just might survive. With what I did make, there was no way to buy another property in California and I did not want to be there anyway. Dare I hope?

The advent of the internet made many things possible or at least much easier. I quickly became addicted to looking at property in Europe. Not only property but I could investigate many of the questions that would aid me in my decision, questions about the experience and day-to-day living. As the focus become clear, there was but one thing left to do. Armed with the information I had discovered and the advice of a dear friend, the search was over. I knew it in my bones that I would love France before I ever even saw it and I learned long ago to trust my instincts.

On May 9, 2006, I flew to France for the first time. I came armed with a rail pass and a return ticket in six weeks. During that time, I traveled around France and made some new friends that I kept in contact with by email and snail mail. The only difficulty was in leaving. It was heartbreaking to get on that plane back to California. My heart I left behind.

On October 31, 2007, I finally arrived back in Paris. The short flight to Toulouse was followed by a train ride to Carcassonne. Exhausted but supremely happy, I collapsed into the bed at the hostel in La Cite. I was finally home.

Bisous,

Léa

Homme de la Renaissance

Patric and friends
Patric and friends at Bio Marche

Homme de la Renaissance or The Renaissance Man. We hear of him but often there doesn’t seem to be much convincing evidence of his existence in the 21st Century. Yet there is such a man who walks among us here in the south of France. I am privileged to know one and fortunate enough to witness some of his many talents on a regular basis. Patric was born in Lyon and moved to this area in 1975.  He has two sons and two daughters with 7 grandchildren and one on the way. He lives in a nearby village in an Eco home which he designed and built on his own. He is a vegetarian and grows much of his own food. Just who is this man? Is he a musician? A writer? An artist? Yes! He is all of these and so much more. It was my first year in France when I met Patric. For insurance purposes, you must obtain a certificate from a chimney sweep, each year, that your fireplace has been cleaned and is safe to operate. I asked around and the number I was given was for Patric. He swept chimneys for 32 years and just retired two years ago.

Patric at work
Left by Arlette Mouton et Patric – Right by Shemon Ben Youssef

Music: Patric can play any instrument that he comes in contact with. He also teaches music. Art: Patric studied at Ecole Boulle in Paris. Among his many talents, he is an accomplished wood craftsman, glassblower, painter,  and photographer. He enjoys drawing with pen & ink. Patric has worked as a Wood crafter for eight years, at Masonry for five years while still making himself available for his other passions. His love of nature has motivated him to combine sketches and photographs with his writings into a book about edible plants. Perhaps if there is sufficient interest, I shall post further on the book when it is released. Patric loves to travel and related a story of when he was 17 years old how he rode a bicycle with a small motor all the way to Morocco. He has seven cats and his nickname is Patou which is a big shaggy dog found in the Pyrenees. The paintings were done by various artists with the exception of the self-portrait with the clock. Patric has had postcards made from them and uses those as his business cards. While the supply is dwindling, he quickly brought me all the ones I did not have after I saw him in Albas recently. Please do click on the photos so that you can see them better. When I saw Patric last week, I asked him if I could do a post and have him give me some information. For all his accomplishments, he is a modest man. Had it not been for his partner, I would not have had half the details you see here. She was generous and patient to spend the time with me to uncover some of Patric’s many gifts.

Bisous,

Léa

Patric
Patric at Bio Marche

Patric with fellow musician at Albas
Patric with fellow musician at Albas

Drawing by Violette Vincent/ Painting by Sabine Delrieu
Drawing by Violette Vincent/ Painting by Sabine Delrieu

Left by Shemon Ben Youssef / Right by Brian de Carvailho
Left by Shemon Ben Youssef / Right by Brian de Carvailho

Patric - A self-portrait
Patric – A self-portrait

 

 

Albas 2012
Patric and friends in Albas 2012

Could this work? Save the planet part 1

Thank you Anna. You said it much better than I could as I have not your skills to illustrate what MUST be said and done.

Annas Art - FärgaregårdsAnna

Maybe this drawing idea will be a series of drawings. We’ll see how it goes.

This season we will try a different approach to the mow lawn issue. We go for the green alternative as a try. So far the experience has been good. You should try it. It’s fun actually if you like fresh air, no noicy environment and some exercise without really thinking about it and no messy petrol filling.


There’s other ways to save the planet, I know, but every little thing we do in the right direction will be a big change eventually.

Do you have a save the planet idea? Please tell us. I might do a drawing of the idea if you let me.

Anna

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Two Companion Poems

Loved them both Polly. A bit of irony for me as yesterday I was inspired to begin a story set in that time. It came from a photo on the cover of Judith Barrow’s newest release. I haven’t begun yet today but over ten pages yesterday, and counting… 🙂

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These are two of the poems that I wrote for Mike Alma’s poetry anthology Voices of 1919 published in 2016. There is a special performance of Voices of 1919 poetry by distinguished local actors on National Poetry Day, Thursday 28th September, at Elmsleigh Hall, Elmslie House, 8 Avenue Road, Great Malvern WR14 3AG–7pm until 9pm plus an interval

Bells Toll

Eliza Ruscoe at number thirteen
cocks her head, hears the bells toll,
she can tell the time by this and John,
husband, signalman, will be home soon,
carrying the metallic whiff of Brasso-clean levers
and fusty yellow dusters, faintly grey.
She serves stew, high in vegetables,
war-grown in the garden
where hens peck;
it used to be full of flowers,
now all chicken shit and veg.
She thinks of her boys
and their hollow legs,
smiles,
looks forward to filling them up again,
thanks to an absence of telegrams.

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Homme de la Renaissance

Patric and friends
Patric and friends at Bio Marche

Homme de la Renaissance or The Renaissance Man. We hear of him but often there doesn’t seem to be much convincing evidence of his existence in the 21st Century. Yet there is such a man who walks among us here in the south of France. I am privileged  to know one and fortunate enough to witness some of his many talents on a regular basis. Patric was born in Lyon and moved to this area in 1975.  He has two sons and two daughters with 7 grandchildren and one on the way. He lives in a nearby village in an Eco home which he designed and built on his own. He is a vegetarian and grows much of his own food. Just who is this man? Is he a musician? A writer? An artist? Yes! He is all of these and so much more. It was my first year in France when I met Patric. For insurance purposes you must obtain a certificate from a chimney sweep, each year, that your fireplace has been cleaned and is safe to operate. I asked around and the number I was given was for Patric. He swept chimneys for 32 years and just retired two years ago.

Patric at work
Left by Arlette Mouton et Patric – Right by Shemon Ben Youssef

Music: Patric can play any instrument that he comes in contact with. He also teaches music. Art: Patric studied at Ecole Boulle in Paris. Among his many talents, he is an accomplished wood craftsman, glassblower, painter,  and photographer. He enjoys drawing with pen & ink. Patric has worked as a Wood crafter for eight years, at Masonry for five years while still making himself available for his other passions. His love of nature has motivated him to combine sketches and photographs with his writings into a book about edible plants. Perhaps if there is sufficient interest, I shall post further on the book when it is released. Patric loves to travel and related a story of when he was 17 years old how he rode a bicycle with a small motor all the way to Morocco. He has seven cats and his nickname is Patou which is a big shaggy dog found in the Pyrenees. The paintings were done by various artists with the exception of the self-portrait with the clock. Patric has had postcards made from them and uses those as his business cards. While the supply is dwindling, he quickly brought me all the ones I did not have after I saw him in Albas recently. Please do click on the photos so that you can see them better. When I saw Patric last week, I asked him if I could do a post and have him give me some information. For all his accomplishments, he is a modest man. Had it not been for his partner, I would not have had half the details you see here. She was generous and most patient to spend the time with me to uncover some of Patric’s many gifts. Bisous, Léa

Patric
Patric at Bio Marche

Patric with fellow musician at Albas
Patric with fellow musician at Albas

Drawing by Violette Vincent/ Painting by Sabine Delrieu
Drawing by Violette Vincent/ Painting by Sabine Delrieu

Left by Shemon Ben Youssef / Right by Brian de Carvailho
Left by Shemon Ben Youssef / Right by Brian de Carvailho

Patric - A self-portrait
Patric – A self-portrait

 

 

Albas 2012
Patric and friends in Albas 2012

Parc Naturel des :Pyrénées… Meet Mélanie!

motto:”Whenever I need to recreate myself, I seek the darkest woods, the thickest and most interminable ones. I enter as in a sacred place – a ‘sanctum sanctorum’: there is the strength and the marrow of Nature.”(Henry David Thoreau – “Walking”) Situated 1h 1/2-drive from Toulouse, in the heart of its “elder sisters” – the […]

via Parc Naturel des Pyrénées Ariégeoises, France… — my virtual playground

Camp Joffre: “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein

La belle France. Yet even the most beautiful of gardens has both thorns and weeds. The group Eurocultures invited me to visit Camp Rivesaltes otherwise known as Camp Joffre where we would visit a memorial to some of its darker past. A very short distance from the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean, and just the other side of the tracks, lies the remnants of a concentration camp.

For over five years I have tried to share with you some of the beauty in my chosen home. However, this scar must not be glossed over nor forgotten.

 

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Dedication of museum by Manuel Valls 2015

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Inside the new museum

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Reisepass

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La Fuente Family

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A starving child 1941

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Tools?

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Belongs confiscated along with hopes and dreams…

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Testimony to man’s inhumanity to man.

Though the walls are crumbling and little remains of the buildings, many artifacts are carefully preserved in the new climate protected museum.

Rivesaltes Internment Camp – Camp Joffre opened in 1938 and was not to close its doors until 1970. For nearly five years, I have shared with you the beauty, serenity and the joy of La belle France. Yet this beautiful Country has had much pain, cruelty and suffering inflicted on it and its people. Many of those coming through this camp did not originate in France but may have spent their final days here.

 

Bisous,

Lea

 

bon appétit

after Port-Vendres and Banyuls, once again in pittoresque Collioure where I go twice/year: https://myvirtualplayground.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/cote-vermeille-proximite-oblige/ * * * N.B. if you ever drive from Toulouse, down to Barcelona, Spain, I highly recommend a stop-over @ Collioure, to have a yummy lunch or dinner @ “Le Trémail” – served with local red, “rosé” or white wines… bon […]

via bon appétit